The soreness from inflammation in McHenry senior Jenna Pauly’s left shin has nagged and frustrated her throughout the outdoor track and field season.
Pauly’s lack of a normal practice routine has left her results short of what she hoped for, although she showed Thursday that she's still capable of some magical moments.
At the Class 3A Antioch Sectional, Pauly was down to her third attempt at 5 feet, 3 inches in the high jump, the state-qualifying standard. Make it, and she would qualify for state. Miss it, and she would advance only in pole vault.
“It was definitely an off day jumping for me,” Pauly said. “I got it mentally into my head. I cleared my mind. I literally said to myself, ‘Just run and jump,’ and I cleared it easily.”
Pauly now heads to the state meet this weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston in both events. She was fourth in the 3A high jump last year and tied for seventh in pole vault. Pauly was selected as Northwest Herald Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year as a junior.
Pauly is seeded first in the pole vault at 11-9, her career-best, and tied for fifth in the high jump.
“When the chips are down, she knows how to compete,” Warriors coach Kyle Owens said. “Just go out and do it. She’s done a great job controlling what she can control. I’m impressed with the way she’s taken it in stride and managed to do as well as she did, knowing the type of injury she’s been dealing with.”
Basically, Pauly needs some rest to let the leg get better, but that will come after state. The Murray State signee did not want to miss her senior season.
“I’ve barely been able to practice all season,” she said. “Usually in meets, because I’m not running as much, it doesn’t hurt as bad. It’s been getting better, but I haven’t been able to do too many sprint workouts this season. I do more in the pool because it takes off pressure.”
Pauly hops into the pool on McHenry’s West Campus during her study halls and runs in place for 30 seconds and then rests for 30 seconds. She does that 10 times, then uses a kickboard and goes the length of the pool and back, four times, while just kicking her legs.
Pauly won four events – the high jump, pole vault, 100 and 200 meters – at the Fox Valley Conference Meet for 40 individual points last season as a junior. She has sprinted only sparingly this season.
“For the situation she was in, it’s been a pretty good season,” Owens said. “It’s been more focused on the vault, because of all the events she does, it’s the least impactful on her lower legs. It’s been good. She would have liked to do better, but it was out of her control.”
Class 1A preliminary flights and heats take place Thursday, while Class 2A and 3A athletes have their prelims Friday. All finals are Saturday at EIU’s O’Brien Field.
Pauly and Marengo thrower Bailey Bertrand, who took fourth in the Class 2A discus, are the two local athletes looking to repeat as medalists. Huntley junior Daryn Davis took sixth in Class 3A triple jump as a freshman and made the finals last season, finishing 12th.
Davis is one of eight Red Raiders who qualified in six events. Marian Central is sending seven girls in eight events; Richmond-Burton is sending seven in five events.
Marian’s Regan Dineen is among the top seeds in the long and high jumps. She also runs on the Hurricanes’ 4x100-meter relay team. Marian won its second consecutive sectional title last week at R-B.
Davis and teammates Kendal Only and Sabrina Krog are three-time state qualifiers. Bertrand and teammate Jordan Parker also are making their third straight state trips. Parker advanced in the 100 high hurdles and in the long and triple jumps.
Pauly and teammate Holly Vogt also are back for a third consecutive year.
LOCAL STATE QUALIFIERS
Harvard: Abby Perkins (PV).
Johnsburg: Gracie Berthoud (PV), Chloe Benz (discus).
Marengo: Bailey Bertrand (SP, discus), Jordan Parker (100HH, LJ, TJ), Carlie Seemann (300LH).
Marian Central: Dominique Thomas (100, 200, 4x100, 4x200), Regan Dineen (HJ, LJ, 4x100), Meaghan Di Pietro (100, 4x100, 4x200), Reagan Kelly (400, 4x100), Molly Iden (4x200), Katherine Strode (4x200), Siobahn Stoll (1,600, 3,200).
Richmond-Burton: Lilly Alberts (400, 4x400), Sierra Satkiewicz (TJ, 4x400), Jane Wisniewski (4x400, 4x800), Catherine Miller 4x400, 4x800), Mia Zupec (4x800), Amanda Allport (4x800), Melanie Wagner (SP).
Woodstock North: Emma Mergl (800).
Cary-Grove: Allison Drage (1,600).
Crystal Lake South: Savannah Morgan (100).
Huntley: Daryn Davis (100HH, LJ, TJ), Kendal Only (100HH, TJ), Jenna Belonax (4x100, 4x200, 4x400), Melissa Aninagyei-Bonsu (4x100, 4x200), Sabrina Krog (4x100, 4x400), Taryn Sargent (4x100, 4x200), Ola Oladipo (4x200, 4x400), Mary Raclawski (4x400).
Jacobs: Nadia Baraglia (200).
McHenry: Jenna Pauly (HJ, PV), Holly Vogt (LJ).